Ever catch yourself fumbling with your iPhone to pull up directions, play some tunes, or make a phone call in the car? (Shame on you.) Even if you have a built-in device, you may have struggled trying to figure out how to operate it. CarPlay aims to bring the familiarity of iOS from the iPhone right to your car’s control centers. Using voice controls navigated through Apple’s snarky-but-genius Siri, the experience is designed to be hands-free and help drivers keep their eyes on the road.
What is CarPlay?
Basically, CarPlay puts the capabilities of the iPhone onto a built-in car display. Drivers can then make calls, text messages, play music, get directions, and more using Siri voice control. With Siri voice control, drivers can answer calls and hang up, listen to and dictate messages, and navigate the programs completely through voice commands so that drivers can theoretically operate the iOS car system without having to touch it or look at it. Also, CarPlay will support additional audio apps downloaded to the iPhone for radio and podcasts.
For directions, CarPlay uses Apple Maps to give turn-by-turn directions and traffic updates, and CarPlay can access addresses in your text messages, emails, contacts, and calendars to predict where you most likely want to go. Unlike other built-in car and GPS systems, CarPlay will update with the iPhone to keep the technology relevant throughout the life of your car. Those who have bought map updates or found their current built-in GPS systems outdated can appreciate the convenience there.
How will CarPlay work?
With CarPlay-equipped vehicles, drivers can connect their iPhones via USB cord to the built-in car display so that they pretty much have the information and apps from the iPhone, only it will show up in the car with voice controls. Beyond voice controls, the system can be navigated through touchscreen and the normal knobs, buttons, and dials of the car’s controls: Whatever controls the car’s screen will control CarPlay. The idea has potential to simplify built-in displays: If drivers can work their smartphones, they can work their car displays. CarPlay will be compatible with iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5, plus any newer, future iPhones to come.
Where is CarPlay now?
Right now, CarPlay is expected to show up in some 2014 models from Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. Other big names, such as BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota, have also been named as committed partners for additional models sometime in the future. (To see the entire list of committed partners, click here.)
As far as apps go, Podcasts, Beats Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Stitcher are among the iPhone apps currently supported by CarPlay, with promises that more supported apps are coming soon.
Will CarPlay change the auto industry? Would CarPlay play a factor in shopping for your next car? What iPhone apps would you like to see supported by CarPlay? Tell us what you think in the comments!